Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Old NYX taupe blush vs. new NYX taupe blush (from Sultry Suburbia)

I do have the old version of this blush, which is a popular affordable contouring option for creating natural-looking shadows. Since I rarely bother to contour, I've never been inspired to post about it. But if the fact that the old NYX blush formula has been replaced with a new one worries you, check out this helpful comparison. All is not lost, it seems! (And Sultry Suburbia is a blog well worth reading for the stunning, dramatic makeup looks she creates.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Swatches and reviews of Paula's Choice foundations and tinted moisturizer (pale edition)

I recently ordered samples of all of the Paula's Choice base makeup products. I've been looking for a good, light tinted moisturizer or foundation for a while now, and I figured I'd give the PC options a shot. So here is my favorite thing about them: you can spend a couple of bucks and get sample packets of all of the shades of all of their products. I wish other brands would do that. Sure, you might chance into a sample in a gift-with-purchase or a subscription service, but even those tend to only be the "medium" shade or shades. I once got a card sample of Laura Mercier's famous tinted moisturizer from Birchbox, and the amount included was so small it didn't even cover a quarter of my hand, plus all three shades were way too dark. So I could test neither the shade nor the formula. I know that I could go to Sephora and asks the sales associates to make me samples of various products, but getting to the nearest Sephora is a pain in the ass for me. I would gladly spend a few dollars to have decent samples of the most likely shades sent to me at home instead.

So I ordered packets of the four bases Paula's Choice sells: Best Face Forward Foundation (SPF 25, for oily/combination skin); Resist Instant Smoothing Anti-Aging Foundation (for oily/combination skin); All Bases Covered Foundation (SPF 25, for dry/very dry skin); and Barely There Sheer Matte Tint (SPF 30, for all skin types). Each sample pack costs $2.50 and contains four generously sized samples - at least enough for two full-face applications each. You can choose a darker or lighter range for most of the foundations, and you get four different shades.


Here are swatches of the two lightest shades of each of the products, on either side of Revlon ColorStay Foundation for oily/combination skin as a point of reference, since that is a fairly popular and accessible foundation. (If you want to compare the Revlon foundation to other pale foundations, see this post.) They are swatched heavily to show the color differences, rather than the textures. I used the lightest shades in the middle next to the Revlon swatch.

Swatches (left to right): Paula's Choice Barely There Tint in Shade 2, Paula's Choice Barely There Tint in Shade 2, Revlon Colorstay Foundation in Ivory, Paula's Choice Best Face Forward Foundation in Best Bisque, Paula's Choice Best Face Forward Foundation in Best Linen
Swatches (left to right): Paula's Choice Barely There Tint in Level 2, Paula's Choice Barely There Tint in Level 2, Revlon Colorstay Foundation in Ivory, Paula's Choice Best Face Forward Foundation in Best Bisque, Paula's Choice Best Face Forward Foundation in Best Linen
Swatches (left to right): Paula's Choice Resist Anti-Aging Foundation in Shade 1, Paula's Choice Resist Anti-Aging Foundation in Shade 0, Revlon Colorstay Foundation in Ivory, Paula's Choice All Bases Covered Foundation in Nude, Paula's Choice All Bases Covered Foundation in Sand
Swatches (left to right): Paula's Choice Resist Anti-Aging Foundation in Level 1/Fair/Light, Paula's Choice Resist Anti-Aging Foundation in Level 0/Porcelain, Revlon Colorstay Foundation in Ivory, Paula's Choice All Bases Covered Foundation in Nude, Paula's Choice All Bases Covered Foundation in Sand
As you can see, there is a lot of variation in what the lightest shades available are, but they are mostly on the warmer/yellower side (which makes sense for this brand, since Beautypedia tends to give poor reviews to makeup that is too peachy or pink, despite the fact that it does suit some people). Judging from the swatches on my arm, the best match for me appears to be Best Face Forward Foundation in Best Bisque, but unfortunately I didn't like the formula much.

Here are my reviews of each product, based on at least one full day's wear (though I didn't use both shades of each). I ended up buying the Barely There Tint, so there is more information about that one at the end.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Empties 2015, Part IV: Makeup and Skin Care

These are actually things I finished in April (at the same time as the previous batch) but haven't got around to posting. I have another whole bag full in my bedroom. Perpetually behind!

As always, foils will get minimal-to-no comment, since they are generally too small to form an opinion on.


Makeup

Fresh Sugar Balm in Rosé: This was part of the Sephora birthday gift a couple of years ago. I don't like anything about these balms, really. I don't find them moisturizing, and I'm not a big fan of citrus fragrance in lip balms. I used it up by wearing it under lipstick.

Wet N Wild Fergie Take on the Day Eyeshadow Primer: This is my favorite eyeshadow primer. You can see how it compares to a bunch of others here. The tube lasted almost 2 years (which explains why the print on the tube wore off), and it worked perfectly the whole time. Now I am left with subpar primers, and it's making me sad.

LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Primer: I started to use this again after the WNW primer ran out, but it was getting pretty dry and was even more ineffective than when it was new. When I realized that it was actually making my eyeshadow crease more, I ditched it. What a waste. (Also reviewed in the same post linked above.)

Sephora Anti-Shine Foundation Primer: This worked well under foundation, but it seems to have been discontinued, so I'll have to find something else I like. Right now I'm working through some clear silicone primers, which are never that impressive to me.

Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperlight: I complained about this on Instagram. I barely used any of it, but I just couldn't get any product out without a huge fight, so I gave up. I got it in a subscription box (Boxy Charm), so at least I didn't pay full price for that rage-inducing shit.

ULTA Plush Drama Volume Mascara: I also complained about this on Instagram. The brush was way too fucking big for my face.


Skin Care

e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator: Briefly reviewed here. I had used about half of it, but then it started to smell funky.

Paula's Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser (mini): As I've said before, all the PC cleansers I've tried are effective but very expensive for pretty basic products. In general, I find most cleansers unobjectionable and unexciting, unless they are very drying, don't remove makeup, or sting my eyes.

Philosophy Hope in a Jar Moisturizer (mini): This stuff does indeed moisturize, but I found the fragrance so obnoxious that after using it twice I just squeezed the rest into a big bottle of body lotion. To me, it smells kind of like moldy lavender.

Mason Natural Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is the thing that works best for me when it comes to acne treatment but not all of them are equal, because a lot of oils are diluted despite being labeled 100% tea tree oil (see this Tumblr post). This one is effective. I'm on my third bottle.

Paula's Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol: I'm not sure about this. It's a very light moisturizer that I used at night throughout the winter. I don't totally understand what it is supposed to do - or at least what makes it different from any other moisturizer, other than that it contains retinol. I didn't think it made much improvement to my skin when I was using it, but my skin has been terrible for the last month or so, so maybe it was doing something? This is why I haven't reviewed it - my review would read: "Moisturizer, yes, ??????" I might try it again. It would probably provide more than enough moisture for my summer skin.

Paula's Choice Hydralight Moisture-Infusing Lotion: GoodReviewed here. 

Paula's Choice Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum: Love this stuff. On my third tube. Reviewed here.

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Serum with Retinol (mini): I also don't know if this did anything, but it smelled weird and had a super-slippery silicone texture that I didn't love, so I probably won't use it again. It was similar in feel to a silicone primer, so it might do double duty that way.

Kate Somerville Oil-Free Moisturizer (foil)

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Moisturizer (foil): So. Much. Perfume.

PC 4 Men (Paula's Choice) Daytime Protect SPF 30 (foil): This was a decent, but not special, sunscreen. I assume the idea for a men's sunscreen is that they shouldn't be forced to feel anything icky on their precious man-faces, but it wasn't any less greasy than any other decent SPF 30 product.

That's it! At least as of April. Let me know if you want more details about any of these things.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bigger Better Hair (Review of John Frieda 7-Day Volume In-Shower Treatment)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
I got a mini bottle of John Frieda 7-Day Volume In-Shower Treatment from Target. They have interesting samples every now and then on this page, so it's worth bookmarking and checking when you think of it.
John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7-Day Volume Treatment
John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7-Day Volume Treatment
I didn't have high hopes for this product. Here are the claims, from the description on Amazon:
  • Texturally transforms fine hair, leaving it full even after multiple washes
  • Semi-permanent treatment establishes a base for volumized styling, achieving a look that was previously viewed as unattainable
  • Works by penetrating into each fiber and amplifying each hair strand for lift that lasts through multiple washes
 I expected one of two possible outcomes:
  1. It would make my hair rough, frizzy, or dry (i.e. "texturally transform" it), or; 
  2. Nothing.
I was really pleasantly surprised with the results. The way this works is that, after shampooing and conditioning, you apply it all over your hair and leave it for about 5 minutes and then rinse. It doesn't replace shampooing and conditioning - it's an extra step. Some of the reviews on Amazon seem to have missed that point. Far from leaving my hair drier or duller, it actually made it softer and a tiny bit shinier. It seemed to add some extra conditioning so that I could easily brush through it while it was still wet without adding extra product (using the Wet Brush, which is magic and is something I really should review here - but still, sometimes it's easier than others, depending on my hair's condition). 

The volume increase was subtle but definitely noticeable. It doesn't create big, dramatic, country-singer hair like a volumizing powder will, but it adds extra volume and body throughout the hair, not just at the roots. It just looks like you have more, thicker hair.

For some reason, I had a hard time capturing the change in photos. I don't know if it's the lighting or the angle or what. A professional photographer I am not. But I do know that I didn't imagine the difference, because I used it multiple times to make sure it was doing what I thought it was doing. Here are before and after photos, both taken after I let my hair air dry and didn't add any additional product. The style doesn't look very cute, but I didn't want any extra steps to affect my comparison. (And obviously I need a trim.)


Can you see a difference? In person, I think it looks like I have about 30-50% more hair. You can also compare this photo on Instagram, which shows my usual, flat hair, with this one or this one, both taken after using the treatment.

I do not have thin hair, but I have fine hair, and quite a lot of it. I think this may make me the ideal candidate for getting good results with this product. If you have thin hair, I suspect you will notice some results but not as obvious ones, because the more hairs it can thicken, the better. 

I honestly have no idea how this product works. Like I said, the texture of my hair doesn't feel rougher or stiffer, and it doesn't feel coated with anything - it just looks thicker. My hair has a tendency to hang there limply, and this stuff gives it a little more oomph. Is that clear and descriptive? Ha.

Here are the ingredients, in case you have any insight to provide:
Water, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Pvp, Polyquaternium-37, Vp/Va Copolymer, Cetyl Alcohol, Polyimide-1, Benzyl Alcohol, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Fragrance, Silicone Quaternium-18, Trideceth-6, Malic Acid, Trideceth-12, Glycine, Steartrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein Pg-Propyl Silanetriol, Alcohol Denat., Amp-Isostearoyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Green 3.
Most of the first several ingredients seem to be things like emulsifiers and film formers that you would find in regular shampoos and conditioners. Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose absorbs water and prevents evaporation, so maybe what is happening is that it's keeping extra water in the strands of hair and plumping it that way. Here is an article on other hair thickening products from L'Oreal that seem to work in a similar way, which may provide some clues.

I still have enough left in my little bottle for one more round with this stuff, and then I think I will buy myself a bottle. It gives my hair a little extra life without blowdrying it upside down, which is what I do when I am not feeling too lazy (i.e. very occasionally). I wouldn't say the effects last a full 7 days, but they do last 4-5 days before the volume starts to decrease significantly.

I would recommend this product if you have sad, limp hair like mine and want a change. Right now Amazon has it for $8.97 plus a $1.50 off coupon, making it the cheapest anywhere I've found it. Of course Amazon prices jump around all the time, so do your homework.

Anyone else tried this stuff or something similar? What kind of results did you had?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Is your 3 or 4 or 5-free nail polish really free?

By now you've probably read the NYT article about nail salon and human trafficking/exploitation (if not, get on it). There's been lots of interesting discussion stemming from the article as well. I would recommend, as usual, skipping the Jezebel commentary on the topic, in which the author goes apeshit in the comments - as she's been doing in the comments of other articles, including ones she didn't even write herself (I am hesitant to link from here to such ridiculous antics, but let me know if you want some directions to the train wreck). But Wondegondigo has a thoughtful discussion, for example.

As part of describing the poor working conditions of salon employees, a link in the NYT article pointed to a study done in 2012 on 3(+)-free nail polishes that showed that many of them still included the chemicals that they were supposedly free from (including formaldehyde, DBP, and toulene). In fact:

"Toluene was found more frequently, and in higher concentrations in products with toxic-trio related claims than in traditional products. Ten of the twelve products with “toluene-free” claims did, in fact, contain toluene."
You know that I am not overly concerned about "chemicals," but if these particular ingredients, which do pose potential health risks when used frequently or in the wrong way, are a concern for you, well . . . maybe you should still be concerned. Or you should be extra careful to paint your nail in a very well-ventilated space.

It was nice to see that the Zoya they tested in that study did turn out to actually be 3-free, so I can blissfully go on loving my Zoyas.

Zoya Dream
Zoya Dream

Monday, May 4, 2015

Why do you get mad when other people put on makeup, though?

So Jezebel has a new . . . sub-blog? What do we call these things? A beauty section? Anyway, it's called millihelen (which I don't think is as clever as they think it is). I was kind of excited when it started because, despite having lots of ambivalence about Jezebel in general, I do want more fun beauty blogs to read. They have a regular feature where people go to the mall in the area where they live and ask for a makeover in the most popular local style. It's cool, especially when people are living away from home and you get to see what some international trends are like. Even if nearly every single person who gets a makeover is like, "Oh, I almost never wear makeup! It's so weird to have all this paint on my face." Please.


A lot of the articles/comment sections seem to involve mocking people for wearing too much makeup, which I'm not really on board with and just seems fucking weird on a beauty blog. Like this story today, which literally encourages commenters to make fun of "lip contouring," as though it is some new abomination that Instagram is forcing us all to do. Whatever your thoughts about how realistic contouring is for normal humans: first of all, I remember reading about tricks like this in YM or Seventeen or whatever in the 90s, so it's hardly new. Second, it's pretty clear that people who do extreme makeup like this on Instagram are doing it because they think it's fun. It's a hobby. And they do tutorials for other people who also think it's fun. I don't think anyone is suggesting that ordinary people who do not put makeup on themselves as a hobby MUST contour their lips to meet basic beauty standards, even if Kylie Jenner's lips are trending. Why exactly do we need to mock people for experimenting with makeup and posting photos of it, again?

Am I missing something? What do you think about Instagram makeup, or lip contouring, or millihelen, or Jezebel in general?

Friday, May 1, 2015

No-Makeup Makeup: Comparison of eye brightening cream shadows (Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded vs. Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Color in Kitten)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate/referral links.
I'm going to get all the SEOs with that headline, right? Is that how this works? Really, though, I think the "no-makeup makeup" trend, as the epitome of manufactured "natural" beauty, is super iffy. "Here, just layer on these fifteen exquisitely-formulated prestige cosmetics and you too can look like a fresh-faced teenager in excellent lighting." Auxiliary Beauty wrote a great post on the subject of natural beauty not too long ago, which you should check out. As I commented there, I think a lot of what's driving the trend is conservative, elitist, and reactionary.

That doesn't mean that I think there is anything wrong with not wearing much/any makeup, or wearing minimal makeup, or wearing makeup that is intended to subtly enhance your features, if that's what you want to do. But like most other forms of minimalism that are being promoted in recent years, "no-makeup makeup" is especially attainable for people who didn't need a lot of makeup to begin with or who have the means (or time) to choose to look like they are wearing no makeup while slathering on a lot of makeup. (I posted about Amy Schumer's take on no makeup earlier this week.) It's worth thinking about critically, at least, whether you want to rage against the machine (yeah, I'm old) or you just find cultural patterns interesting.

My "minimalist" makeup days are mostly born out of laziness and/or a lack of time - I suspect the latter (or a lack of interest) is the case for most small-m minimalists. On those days I still tend to slather on a bit of makeup, but that's what I like to do. Lately, my simplest routine consists of some combination of the following: eyebrow pencil, concealer, cream eyeshadow, mascara, powder blush, face powder, and lip balm. I might leave one or more of those out (but never the mascara and almost never the eyebrow pencil, because blonde face hair). As I've mentioned before, these products are chosen because they are the simplest to apply. Powder blush is less finicky than cream blush, but cream eyeshadow is easier for me than powder eyeshadow. I need primer to make most powder shadows stick and last more than an hour, whereas cream stays put a bit better. Even cream will always crease on me eventually without primer, but if I use a pale enough shade or only apply it fairly close to the lash line, I can get away with it.

If I'm going to do eyeshadow on one of these days, I usually use Maybelline Color Tattoos. One of my favorite things to do is just smear a pale champagne shade all over my lid, from lashes to brow bone, and in the inner corner. I use Barely Branded, but I think Barely Beige is almost the same. Because this is close to my skin tone, just slightly paler and shimmery, it works well to brighten my eyes a bit and make me look more awake. I always think it also makes me look a bit younger then darker eye makeup does, and for that reason, I usually avoid this look at work when I want to exude maturity and authority (cough).

Because I wondered if that was just my imagination, here's a photo with Barely Branded on one eye and darker eyeliner and eyeshadow on the other. In the mirror, the darker made-up eye looked SO DARK and dramatic and shit, but in this photo, the difference seems not-so noticeable. Interesting.


I'm not sure what this photo proves, but there it is.

Since I use this Color Tattoo so frequently, it's starting to run low (though honestly I probably have almost a year's worth left). In a fit of shopping boredom a while ago, I decided to use a HauteLook credit to buy a Stila crayon shadow in Kitten as a backup. I know this is one of Stila's most popular shades, and it seemed like a good alternative to Barely Branded.

Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Color in Kitten and Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded
Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Color in Kitten and Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded
Usually you can get Color Tattoos for about $5-8 (Barely Branded is $5.60 on Amazon), though of course there are always drugstore sales, so you likely don't need to pay full price. The Stila crayon usually goes for $22, though it was $8 on HauteLook when I bought it. I think Stila may be discontinuing this product, since it's $15 and final sale on their site right now. The Color Tattoo, even with its tricky packaging, holds 0.14 oz., while the Stila crayon is 0.04 oz. - quite a fucking difference there in terms of price per ounce, even at the lowest price for the crayon.

The colors are not identical. Definitely not dupes. The Color Tattoo is more of a pale golden champagne, while Kitten is peachier. Kitten is a little too dark to blend into my skin well, so it would be ideal for someone who is not the palest of the pale like I am.

Swatches of Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded and Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Color in Kitten 
Swatched on my hand, the Stila crayon looks more even, but I find that on my eyelids, the Color Tattoo blends more smoothly and just looks better. The Stila shadow highlights the texture of my eyelid in a way that I don't love, while the Color Tattoo smoothes it over. I also find it easier and quicker to apply the Color Tattoo, because I can just smear it on and blend it with my finger. The Stila crayon is a little stiffer (though not bad), and it takes slightly longer to scribble all over my lid and then blend it with my finger tip. It's a minor difference, but if I am in a rush, it matters. The crayon can be applied more precisely, when needed, at least.

Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Color in Kitten and Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded
Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Color in Kitten (left) and Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded (right)
Without primer, the Stila crayon wears slightly better than the Color Tattoo, but they both crease and fade to a certain extent after a few hours on my oily eyelids. I haven't tested the waterproof claim of the Stila crayon, because that's not usually something I look for in an eyeshadow. I wouldn't say that it works as a primer as well as an eyeshadow, like it claims to. But I'm not one of those lucky people for whom Color Tattoos work as a primer, either.

Because of the difference in shade and texture, Barely Branded works better as an all-over brightening eyeshadow for me (and can even double as a highlighter). Kitten isn't as subtle and natural looking - it's more in the makeup makeup category than no-makeup makeup. It's not a bad product, but I think I am going to have to find a different use for it. Maybe I'll just use it on my lower lid with something darker blended in the crease on days that I'm doing a more elaborate eyeshadow look.

Affiliate Links

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
I'm going to start using Amazon affiliate links again, for a little while at least. I am facing a period of (hopefully temporary) unemployment, and even though not much comes from affiliate links, a little is better than nothing. I am hoping to get enough small Amazon gift cards to buy the only fucking wet food that my princess of a cat will deign to eat, which I can't find in any actual stores around here: the glamorous Friskies Tasty Treasures Beef and Liver Dinner with Cheese (there, that's the first affiliate link).  I will only be participating in Amazon's affiliate program. I know there are lots of issues with Amazon, but frankly there are a issues with many of the companies that run affiliate programs, and at least this way I can link to a variety of different items. Also, Amazon doesn't care how much I write "fuck," and other affiliate programs do.

I will always include a disclosure line at the top of every post that contains affiliate links (see above). I will also try very hard not to write in a way that requires you to click an affiliate link in order to get basic information. There are few things that annoy me more when reading a blog than when people deliberately withhold information in an effort to force readers to click their links. For example, they might affiliate-link the words "this one" without naming the product. If I ever do that, you have permission to yell at me. (Sometimes in the past I may have linked vague phrases like that to other posts on my own blog, but I will try not to do that either, if I can remember.)

I know that there are people out there who don't like affiliate links, and I understand that perspective. Personally, I find them to be one of the least obnoxious ways to monetize blog content, since there usually isn't a brand or PR person who needs to be placated. If a blogger introduces me to something that I want to buy, I'm happy for them to make that 8% commission or whatever (from Amazon it's more like 4%). If you want to avoid clicking affiliate links here, don't click anything that goes to Amazon, which you can tell when you hover over the link and see the URL. Some of my old posts have Amazon links that are not affiliate links right now, but I'm going to gradually update them. (On other blogs, to avoid affiliate links, mot likely anything that redirects you rather than linking directly to the brand/store page is an affiliate link.)

I also know that a lot of casual blog readers don't really know exactly how affiliate links work, so let me explain. When you click my link, a cookie will be placed on your computer. That cookie expires in a certain amount of time. With Amazon, it's 24 hours. With some other affiliate link programs, it's 30-45 days. So that means that anything you buy from that site before the cookie expires generates a commission for the blogger. If you click through because I linked to some lipstick on Amazon and don't buy it, but later that day decide to order a DVD of Xanadu, I will get a small commission. If you put the lipstick in your shopping cart during the 24 hour period, wait three days to think it over, and then buy it, I do get a commission for the lipstick, but not for anything you added to your cart after the 24 hours ended.

Similarly, if you were to click on an affiliate link to J. Crew from a blogger using RewardStyle (rstyle), the cookie would be stored for 30 days, and anything you bought from J. Crew in the next month would generate a commission for that blogger. It doesn't have to be the item they linked, just anything from the store. If you want to avoid giving someone commission, you need to shop in an incognito browser window, clear your cookies, or click on someone else's affiliate link and replace the previous cookie with the latest one.

Hope that is clear. Let me know if you have any questions!

theBalm is on HauteLook today (~50% off)

Disclosure: This post contains a referral link.
I said I would be procrastinating and so I'd remind you. They've got the eyeshadow palettes, highlighters, lushes, all of it. I am really tempted to just get one of the tinted moisturizers, since I've been having a terrible time finding one I like (I'll post about this process soon), and the "Lighter Than Light" shade of theBalm's concealer is a good match for me. Anyone tried their "Balm Shelter" tinted moisturizer? Should I go for it? I am hesitant, but I don't remember them being included in other recent HL sales of theBalm, so maybe I should pull the trigger while I can. Hmmmm. (Maybe throw an Illamasqua nail polish in there . . . . no!)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Illlamasqua is on HauteLook today (bigger selection than usual and 50%+ off)

Disclosure: This post contains a referral link.
Looks like a good sale. All sort of lipsticks, cream pigments, nail polishes, etc., starting at about $7.50. Some things are already sold out, so you might have to make up your mind soon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Amy Schumer's "Girl You Don't Need Makeup" video is pretty funny

This One Direction parody is a pretty good response to dudes who think they should be allowed to determine how much makeup women should wear.

As usual for Amy Schumer,  she comments on women's own insecurities too, so it ends like this:
"Girl, you do need makeup / Lots and lots of makeup / Think of a clown and then work your way back /  You are great except your face, girl / So don't take off your makeup / Wear it when you sleep and swim."

HELP! I'm covered in chemicals! (Politicians working with EWG to introduce bill increasing FDA oversight of "personal care products")

I don't think this is a bad idea, as such. I'm a fascist commie Canadian who thinks the government should get more involved in everything, clearly. I just wish it were backed by decent science, not by Environmental Working Group's food-babe-style scare tactics. The association with the EWG (a lobby group - sorry "nonprofit consumer health advocacy group" started by personal injury lawyers) just taints the whole fucking thing for me. Did you know that women put 168 chemicals on their bodies everyday *cough*mostareprobablysafe*cough*? Are they counting water?

You can find a good critique of the EWG's "scientific" methods here, which doesn't really even address their hysteria. (Here's another critique with good links from something called the Yummy Mommy Club? But a useful article, anyway.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Empties 2015, Part III (Hair and Body)

Here are some more things I've finished up so far this year. It's kind of fun to keep track of this shit. It's nice to feel like I've accomplished something, even if it is incredibly fucking trivial. I finished a bottle of shampoo! Whatever! So many things in my life are incomplete, but that's not. Plus I have a record to look back at for future purchases.

Hair Products

Generally, I don't write much about shampoo and conditioner or foils, since the former are rarely exciting enough in a good or bad way to warrant comment, and the latter are usually too small to form an opinion about. In the absence of any other information, assume something is just fine. So this should be fairly short.


Batiste Dry Shampoo in Cherry: I've reviewed a bajillion dry shampoos on the blog here, but even though I went through two cans of this in the fall, and it's the best one I've tried yet, I haven't written a proper review of it. (Mini Instagram review here, though.) I'll do one with before and after photos when I buy some more, but first I have to use up some more expensive and less impressive dry shampoos (including the Oscar Blandi one reviewed here).

Davines OI Conditioner (mini)

Pantene Smooth & Sleek Shampoo and Conditioner (minis)

Carol's Daughter Sacred Tiare Anti-Breakage Anti-Frizz Leave-In Cream (mini): It didn't really seem to do anything. I don't have much frizz, per se, though I do get quite a bit of breakage. Maybe didn't use this regularly enough to notice a difference.

Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray (mini): I like this product, and it smells great. If I were in the market for another beach spray, I'd get this one. I used it to make loose waves in this post, which is maybe not the best advertisement for it. My favorite part is the spray nozzle, so I saved this bottle for some future purpose, to be determined.

Davines Minu shampoo (mini)

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Shampoo and Conditioner (foils)

Teadora Rainforest at Dusk Shampoo and Conditioner (minis): Smelled better that Rainforest at Dawn (mentioned here), but otherwise just as mediocre and overpriced.

DermOrganic Daily Conditioning Shampoo and Masque (minis)

Pantene Expert Age Defy Shampoo and Conditioner (foils)

L'Oreal Total Repair 5 Shampoo and Conditioner (foils)


Body Products


Unknown foaming body wash: Got it as a consumer trial, so I have no idea what it is. It comes out of the pump as a moussey foam, and I haven't seen anything like it in store yet. It lasted forever.

Essential Elements Wake Up Rosemary Body Lotion (mini): One of the endless fucking supply of hotel lotions Birchbox has been sending me. Very strongly scented; the initial rosemary fragrance fades quickly to just mint. Worked okay as a hand lotion.

Vitabath Fragrance Mist in Nouveau Rose: I got this from Influenster a million years ago (or October 2012, to be more precise). It had a perfectly fine rose scent, but I don't really use body sprays, so it took some creativity to finish it up. I used it as room freshener, fabric deodorizer, etc. Finally, when there was about an inch and a half of liquid left in the bottle, I just started spraying it on myself every single time I got out of the shower and that eventually killed it.

Nivea Extended Moisture Body Lotion (foil): Makes a good moisturizing hand lotion.

Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream: Spent some Birchbox points on this and used it for most of the winter. It has a nice, fresh grapefruit scent. I wasn't particularly impressed by it while I was using it, but when it was gone and I was left with other things, I missed it. It moisturized well without being greasy, yet it didn't leave my hands feeling really soft. I think I prefer hand creams with a little more silicone for a smoother sensation. While I liked it, I wouldn't spend real money on it, because it costs $15 for 2.5 oz. That's too much for hand cream.

Avon Haiku Roll-On Antiperspirant: I don't usually include deodorant in these things, but there it is. Pretty fragrance, incredibly fucking cheap ($2), and it works well, but there is something supremely unpleasant about rolling cold goo in your pits - and then flapping around like a chicken while you wait for it to dry.

Curel Intensive Healing Cream (mini): I think I finally only have 1.5 of these little tubs left. I use it as hand cream before bed. It's okay (reviewed here).

So that's that, though I still have photos of empty makeup and skincare stuff to post once I have a chance. Getting shit done.

"Makeup Mayhem" on HauteLook this week (50%+ off Tarina Tarantino, Illamasqua, theBalm, LORAC, etc.)

Disclosure: This post contains referral links.
So this week HauteLook is having their big makeup feature. Most things look like they are 50% off or more. We've got BH Cosmetics (meh), Tarina Tarantino (good lipstick, eyeliner, and eyeshadow - avoid the "eye dream hyperlight" for its horrible packaging) - and later this week LORAC (Wednesday), Illamasqua (Thursday), and theBalm (Friday). I've bought all of my theBalm makeup through HauteLook, since it's always been at least 50% off. They tend to have a wide selection including most of their new products. This is also one of the only places Illamasqua is currently sold in North America, unless I am mistaken and they've returned to some other stores recently.

You have to take into account the shipping costs (usually about $6 for beauty stuff) and the long shipping time (2-3 weeks). Obviously your shipping will go farthest if you buy multiple things at once, so if you want to shop more than one brand, it might be worth waiting until they are both available at the same time. Usually each brand stays on the site for about 4 days, but some of the most popular items might sell out.

I don't need anything right now, so I'm not looking too closely. Normally I would be all over this. Think of me if you get something good? I will post reminders about Illamasqua and theBalm, because I am grading this week, and blogging is an excellent form of procrastination.

You need an account to browse HauteLook, so I've included my referral link above, but you are of course not obligated to click it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Complainy Monday: Come Bitch With Me

It's not alliterative, but do you think I can make #CMCBWM take off? No? Probably not. Anyway, this is not a post where I recommend something to you or show you anything helpful. It's a mostly just a self-indulgent post where I complain, and I invite you to complain too. Positive thinking is more of a Saturday thing. (If it's no longer Monday by the time you see this, complain anyway!)

Here's my thing: my skin fucking sucks right now, and it's really annoying. The texture is bad, lines are becoming wrinkles, pores are clogged, breakouts won't fucking die. I guess those are things I complained about late last winter/spring too. So maybe it's seasonal? But added to those, this year I have a new treat: dry patches! Hooray for aging! At least I think that's what's causing the dry flaky skin under my eyes that I've never dealt with before. My nose is a disaster of dryness, too. Usually some Smith's Rosebud Salve every night keeps it under control, but the last 2-3 weeks, it's an unrelenting mess. And chapped lips. I am a delight to behold, let me tell you.

I don't know if it's the weather (but don't these seem more like winter than spring issues?), or stress, or aging, or slacking off on the sunscreen (there was a lot of 6 am rushing and skipping real sunscreen in favor of SPF 20 tinted moisturizer this winter), or the fact that everyone in my fucking apartment complex smokes even though it's not allowed and that can't be good for anything. Or all of the above.

Anyway, hopefully I will figure something out, because right now I'm just frowning in the mirror a lot and that's only making the lines deeper. Until them I am moisturizing like a maniac.

Now you go. Any beauty problems frustrating you these days? Anything else pissing you off? Let it all out.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What's so fucking special about Crème de La Mer? With dupes! (From Of Faces and Fingers)

I have a couple of longish review-type posts (remember when I used to write those regularly?) that are half finished, but real work has been preventing me from completing them. Soon that real work will be over, and I'll have time to post those in between desperate job searching.

In the meantime, check out this fantastic comparison between the exorbitantly priced Crème de La Mer and some other, rather basic, and much cheaper moisturizing creams. The upshot is that, unless you believe the plant extracts in La Mer actually do something (follow the link above to find out why they probably don't), all these products are similar. There are some decent moisturizing ingredients in La Mer, but they aren't exclusive or expensive. I've reviewed the Curel Intensive Healing Cream before, and it's a brand name version of the stuff that hospitals or pharmacies provide to diabetics in huge tubs. Effective, for sure, but very utilitarian and certainly not worth its weight in gold.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Zoya Earth Day promotion: 50% off 6-24 bottles of polish + free shipping

For Earth Day, Zoya always does this promotion where you can get a discount in exchange for sending unwanted bottle of polish to them for proper disposal. You're not supposed to throw nail polish in the trash, since it counts as a hazardous material, so this is a way to get rid of it properly.

But you can get the deal even if you don't send them anything back. They say it's on the honor system, and they suggest that you might also donate some nail polish instead of disposing of it. You'll get each bottle for $4.50 with this deal.

Use code EARTHLUV from April 21-28. All the information is here.

Zoya's one of my favorite nail polish brands. Possibly my very favorite. They just make such fucking interesting shades and they have a million of them. I've been happy with almost all the ones I've bought, and I've never paid full price, because they frequently have good sales. I'm going to have to sit this one out this year, because I just can't afford any more polish, but if anyone goes for it, show me what you get!

Here's one of my favorites, Giovanna (more here):


And here are links to some of my other Zoya swatches: EvvieNeely, IbizaArizonaOdette, SongLotus, and Fei Fei. And those aren't even all the ones I own.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I turned off anonymous commenting

I'm getting absolutely inundated with spam lately, so I turned off anonymous commenting, at least temporarily. I don't get many legit anon comments, so hopefully it won't be an issue. If you want to ask a question and don't want to set up a commenting account, you can always email me at cheapasf AT gmail DOT com.